February 4, 1997 in Nation/World

Lyme Disease Vaccine Near

New York Times

Two drug companies are racing to get federal approval to market a vaccine to fight Lyme disease, after they reported separate human trials showed sufficiently positive results.

The full results of the competing vaccine trials have not yet been published in medical journals, but the two drug companies - SmithKline Beecham and Pasteur Merieux Connaught - have already said they were planning to apply to the Food and Drug Administration this year to license their vaccines.

If either company prevails, it could reap millions of dollars by offering the first preventive treatment for the tick-borne bacteria that each year infect tens of thousands of people in New York, New England, the Middle West and California, causing pain and stiffness, sometimes nerve damage and, rarely, death.

Lyme disease is rarely deadly, but can cause debilitating stiffness and pain, and can cause nerve damage.

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